The near-doubling of LGBT teachers joining the Teach First scheme has been hailed as showing “positive progress within schools”.
The teacher recruitment and training firm says that the numbers of new teachers who are identifying as LGBT has grown to 9% in September 2017 from 5% in 2014.
The organisation adds that this increase in LGBT teachers entering classrooms will help “drive acceptance in schools”.
However, the figures do not reveal whether the lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are feeling more confident about identifying themselves as LGBT or whether the community is delivering more applicants who want to become teachers under the scheme.
Accepting and welcoming environment for LGBT teachers
Teach First recruits nearly 1,400 trainee teachers every year and says the increase shows positive progress in the schools where they work and for LGBT teachers they are an accepting and welcoming environment.
Patrick Dempsey of Teach First is responsible for diversity recruitment and he said: “We want young people to enjoy access to inspiring and brilliant teachers from all types of backgrounds so we must recruit a diverse workforce.
“Being an LGBT teacher can be challenging but few careers will offer this reward. It is important that schools create an accepting and welcoming environment for staff from all backgrounds so they do not lose out on potentially great teachers.”
One LGBT trainee told Teach First that he was nervous about being in the classroom for the first time but excited for the prospect to help change lives through his work.
‘I want to be the role model who was missing from my education’
He is quoted as saying: “In my time at school, I do not remember hearing anything about LGBT people that was positive so I want to be the role model who was missing from my education.”
He added that the level of maturity and acceptance from pupils had been encouraging.
However, a report last year from LGBT rights charity Stonewall revealed that nearly half of all pupils who identify as LGBT said they faced bullying on a regular basis.
Their findings also show that anti-LGBT language and bulling has been declining in the UK’s schools.
Now, the charity says it is delighted to see the Teach First findings and hailed this as a ‘crucial step’.
A spokeswoman added: “This rise in LGBT teachers is a crucial step towards creating an education environment that’s inclusive where both students and teachers feel supported and safe.”
The Teach First website carries the inspirational stories of four LGBT teachers who are helping to change their schools.